Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hope on the Quad

A beautiful post about a beautiful campus and a beautiful event, Hope reigns on the Quad at Notre Dame.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Homeland Security - Keeping You on Edge

And you don't think people still fear attacks eight years after 9/11? Nice one, DHS - a fly-by by Air Force One (alt.) without telling the populace. Smooth .... very smoooth. Let's panic the people - weeee!

Does it play in Peoria? Yes it does - the Catholic Men of Faith March 2009

tip to Athos
The Catholic Diocese of Peoria held their sixth annual men's march and mass today in downtown Peoria.

Residents from across the area gathered today at Liberty Park for the Call to Catholic Men of Faith.

The speaker for the event was Chase Hilgenbrinck who followed his dream of being a professional soccer player until he realized that wasn't his true calling.

Seminarian Chase Hilgenbrinck says, "I won a championship one year in Chile and I remember after the you know coming home after the game and sitting in my house and just really being on top of my game and realizing that there was still something missing in my life and that was the time that I knew that this wasn't the profession that was going to fulfill me that I did have a true vocation in the church and that I needed to step out and be a leader the message that we're sending out today I needed to step up and be a man."

Hilgenbrinck says the purpose of the event is to encourage men of the diocese to be men of God.

Aramis here: I was unable to attend as I was at a wedding but many friends did participate this past Saturday.

Fuel Efficiency

Good ol' Yankee, er, Israeli ingenuity:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Yes and No at the feet of Our Lady

History consists – in the words of Hans Urs von Balthasar and as I heard first from Gil Bailie – of "the mutual intensification of the Yes and the No to Christ."

So it is stunningly appropriate that the "No to Christ" in the form of an invitation accepted by our current, pro-abortion agenda president, Barrack H. Obama, to speak at a commencement exercise take place at the feet of Our Lady of the Golden Dome, the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana.

For precisely here, of all places, is the intensification of saying "Yes to Christ" and "No to Christ" at its most historically appropriate congruence.

The abortion industry, given the huge effort to further promulgate itself globally and made a "key" to United States foreign policy, is in effect the same hypocritical reaction that we see in the crowd that stoned to death our first Christian martyr, Stephen: they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.

What do I mean? I mean that there is indeed in nearly every person the whispering, sometimes howling, awareness that abortion is a travesty against life and against the One Who created us, the Word (Jn 1). The only thing to do now, in light of the genocide of the unborn unimaginable numbers of infants killed since Roe v. Wade, is increase it, shout its justifiability, "cover" the "ears" of more and more people, make more and more people accomplices.

To face the consequences of such massive slaughter of the unborn is far, far worse than Germany had to face following WWII. If it is wrong, evil, a mortal sin (it is), then, "Lord, who can stand?" Since this cannot be faced, it must be neurotically transvalued to be the "key" of American foreign policy. Oh? So if we all shout it and stomp our feet, that will make it right?

So the "No to Christ" of this tragedy of humanist "progress" comes, symbolically in the man most committed to furthering abortion, to the campus of Notre Dame, Our Lady, who modeled for us the perfect "Yes to Christ," full of grace.

What a moment it may be.

Epic - Catholic Come Home

Amy Welborn noted at Via Media that Catholics Come Home is now allowing their videos to be embedded. That's great, as you can see:

First Things Spengler Blog

Big News: Spengler (aka David Goldman) has begun a blog at First Things here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Stop Making Sense - Songs from "Mimesis the movie"

Go HERE first.

Oh, oh, baby you can walk, you can talk just like me. You can walk, you can talk just like me. You can look, tell me what you see. You can look, you won't see nothing like me If you look around the...
Oh, oh, baby you can walk, you can talk just like me.
You can walk, you can talk just like me.
You can look, tell me what you see.
You can look, you won't see nothing like me
If you look around the world.

Oh, baby you can walk, you can talk just like me.
With a little practive, you can walk like, talk just like me.
If that's what you wanna do.
Well, you can look, you'll walk in circles around me.
But first, I'll walk in circles 'round you.
But first, I'll walk around the world.

I'm walking 'round the world
I ... you can.
But first, show me what you do.

-- from Stop Making Sense --

We follow this up with THIS.

The American people are really buying it!

Buying it - hook, line, & sinker
Nobody knows how long the honeymoon will last, but Obama has clearly transformed the yes-we-can spirit of his candidacy into a tool of governance. His ability to inspire confidence — Obama's second book is titled "The Audacity of Hope" — has thus far buffered the president against the harsh realities of two wars, a global economic meltdown and countless domestic challenges.

Just as many people (7 in 10) say Obama understands the concerns of ordinary Americans.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Drew Brees - Sports Science

I'm sorry. I find this godlike. And, yes, I AM praying that Mark Sanchez comes to DC. UPDATE: No such luck. We keep the "developing" Jason Campbell. Another disappointing season ahead...

Fr Barron answers questions of skeptics part 1

Fr. Barron and Mike Leonard discuss common perceptions of mass. Fr. Barron speaks on the importance of receiving the Eucharist and the true discipline of practicing your faith.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In these times where do you get your substantiation - your validation?

Click on Link to view movie!

"Who I am makes a difference" project. Truly awesome! And I love what is behind the love of this project. But have we ever really stopped to ponder the need for it.

I would imagine that in your local "news" paper you have seen such headlines: Suicide Rate Increasing In US or like in my paper today, Tough times have suicides on the rise in McLean Co. Programs like Who I am Makes a Difference are great yet for me they do not get to the 'cross' of the matter?  Is this not an issue of self-substantiation?


My favorite poster is hanging in my office, the title of it is, "Road to Success". To the best of my ability searching the background of the poster I came up with a published date of October 1913 by The Etude Magazine - An Issue of the Inspiration, Uplift and Ideals.

(to enlarge picture right click on it and select Open Link)
In this poster there is, at least from a worldly sense, for seekers of success, a pretty realistic image of the difficulty of obtaining success. This goes well with the etymology of the word and title of the magazine, 'etude' - along with it meaning 'a short composition for a solo instrument; intended as an exercise or to demonstrate technical virtuosity' it is derived from the French étude, from Old French estudie, which is the study or the application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge.

As a graduate of a couple "leadership" programs to me this poster represents the world view of modernism and its concept of achieving success or validation. I have also come to see it as a parody of Christ's version of substantiation: abide in me and I will abide in you.

Gil Bailie helps us to get underneath the entire validation or substantiation crisis especially when we are striving for substantiation void of conversion, desperately clinging to structures which the Paraclete is gradually deconstructing.
It is really the Paraclete which is at work in the world. And if you don’t believe it just pick up tomorrow’s paper and see how it deconstructs the sacrificial ruse – what happens to societies who try to live after the sacrificial ruse has been deconstructed without a conversion experience is that they fall into chaos. The only alternative to the sacrificial system in terms of civility and sanity is conversion.

Jesus prays on behalf of his disciples, while still in the flesh John:17.11, “I am in the world no longer;…” So when he says, I am in the world no longer, what does he mean? He is not talking about the earth, nor is he talking about the flesh – he is talking about being in that ordered cosmos, which is the mythologized world of conventional culture. He says that he is in it no longer.

And then he continues as he is talking to God, “I have passed your word onto them and as a result the world hates them because they belong to the world no more. I am not asking you to remove them from the world but to protect them from the evil one – from the accuser. They do not belong to the world anymore than I belong to the world but they are still in it,” he says. This is the Johannine formula for where we are – it is like Paul, we are in it but not of it. This is where the anthropological reading leads directly into the spiritual reading. The Johannine’s Jesus says, "I am the true vine, my father is the vine dresser” and you are the branches.

In other words, if I am no longer at home in the culture world – if I can no longer derive my sense of social significance – psychological grounding, all the rest of it, for my social consensus – where then do I go to get it?

“I am the vine, my father is the vine dresser” and you are the branches.

This is the new world we belong to. Christ replaces the world as a source of self-substantiation. The world used to be your source of self-substantiation and Jesus says that he is robbing it of its power to substantiate either itself or you. Slowly but surely it will loose its power to substantiate itself and to substantiate those who participate in it. If you want self-substantiation you have to go to the source and the only source of self-substantiation is God – there is no way to get to God directly – you go through a mediator and Jesus will be the mediator – you can now ground yourself in Jesus. You live in me and I will live in you – this sounds so esoteric and so mystic in a way – ‘I live in you and you live in me’ – but it is absolutely practical. And it has to be seen in terms of the juxtaposition of the collapse of the conventional, social world, and its participants to substantiate itself.

Jesus says to make your home – you have to have a home – you have to be at home somewhere for you don’t belong to the world anymore – make your home in me and I will make my home in you. Abide in me and I will abide in you and then you will have some grounding. - from "A Light Shone into the Darkness - Reflections on the Gospel of John" - by Gil Bailie
(tape 10 end of side B)
Lord help us to be instruments, back to being grounded in the inspiration of YOUR WILL and help us be a source that verifies and loves everyone we meet and to spread YOUR LOVE wherever we go.

Cantalamessa - St Francis

ASSISI, Italy, APRIL 20, 2009 ( Here is the address that Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household, gave Wednesday to participants in the Chapter of the Mats in Assisi, on the occasion of the eighth centenary of the approval of the Rule of St. Francis.

* * *

... There are flowers that cannot be reproduced by planting their seeds or a twig of the plant but only by burying the bulb, which mysteriously reawakens and bursts into bloom at springtime. The tulip and the lily would be two such flowers that I know. I believe that the Franciscan Order, too, needs to go back to the bulb. And the bulb is the primitive insight, or rather inspiration, ("The Lord revealed to me..."), which Francis of Assisi had and placed before Innocent III in 1209.
Read all here.

Monday, April 20, 2009


See entire news release from Vatican Information Sevice HERE.

"Eight centuries have passed and today you wish to renew your Founder's gesture", the Pope told his audience. "You are all children and heirs of those origins. ... Like Francis and Clare of Assisi, ... always begin again from Christ ... in order to see His face in our brothers and sisters who suffer, and to bring everyone His peace. Be witnesses of the beauty of God, whose praises Francis sang while contemplating the wonders of creation".

"Go forth and continue 'to repair the house' of the Lord Jesus Christ: His Church", cried the Holy Father. "Yet there is another ruin, an even more serious ruin: that of people and of communities", he said.

"Like St. Francis, always begin with yourselves", he concluded. "If you prove capable of renewing yourselves in the spirit of the Gospel, you will continue to help the pastors of the Church to make her face, as the bride of Christ, ever more beautiful. Now as at your beginnings, this is what the Pope expects from you".

Check article from American Catholic on Pope Benedict XVI and St. Francis HERE.

Sign of Contradiction

Donald DeMarco writes:

Radical feminists do not like the Church's stand against abortion; homosexuals decry Her teaching on marriage and sexuality; euthanasiasts object to Her opposition to mercy killing; bioethicists deplore the Church's prohibition of human cloning, in vitro fertilization, and many other forms of reproductive technology.

Even within the Church, there is much criticism. Many married couples want to use contraception or sterilization; single people want the Church to loosen Her stand on chastity; there are liberals who demand the ordination of women to the priesthood; there are priests who want the Church to change Her teaching on priestly celibacy.

Judging from the torrent of criticism leveled against the Church, one might get the impression that there is nothing left standing that is positive, and all that is left is to bury an out-of-date religion and commit oneself to some form of secular humanism in a post-Christian world. It becomes clear that for many in our present world, Christ is not easy to accept. But it is a dangerous thing to look at Christ with the eyes of the world ...

Keep reading ...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Evangelical 'Buyers' Remorse'

A member of President Obama's faith-based advisory council says President Obama has yet to show any signs that he plans to follow through on his pledge to find "common ground" on the issue of abortion.

Dr. Frank PageDr. Frank Page, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, says he is disturbed that President Barack Obama is "moving quickly" to remove the few pro-life protections that remain in the U.S.

Page admits he is irritated that some of the evangelicals who voted for President Obama are now having "buyers' remorse." He says they should not be acting surprised when they see Obama simply fulfilling promises he made during the campaign.

"Nothing he's done surprises, because he promised these things," observes Page. "But the rapid pace with which he has done it has been very concerning to me."
Read all …

I can only hope that Catholics who voted for I Won also are experiencing a similar remorse. I Won represented a consortium of bristling desires - the object of longing embodied in one mere man. His self-understanding is very questionably Christian, defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But that did not make any difference to the voters last Fall. Last fall.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


College Kidz w/spring fever. [ht: Mark Shea]

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Satan's 2 greatest tricks

When in the Gospel of Luke it said that ’Satan entered into Judas’, it meant that he fell into the grip of accusation. There is nothing more powerful than that. When one suddenly feels that one can with absolute assurance point the index finger and say, “there’s the one!” – there is a tremendous intensity that comes from that and it is precisely that intensity that seems like such a relief from the banality of the ordinary daily life – now we know for sure. There is something tremendously intoxicating about that.

Satan is really the transfiguration of human self-delusion and the evasion of our moral responsibility for what we do. Satan is a myth. Now the satanic is not a myth – satanic happens. We fall into the grip of Satan, but when in Luke, Jesus says, ‘I see Satan falling like lightning from heaven’ he is announcing that Satan, as a metaphysical entity will be de-constructed. And we will realize that Satan simply represents a metaphysical projection of our own violence and cruelty.

So in the line of French thinker André Gide who said, Satan’s greatest trick is to convince us that he does not exist; René Girard says, Satan’s second greatest trick is to convince us that he does. - from "A Light Shone into the Darkness - Reflections on the Gospel of John" - by Gil Bailie (tape 9 side B)

I Won (he was crucified - how 90's)

Patrick Archbold reports: Following Georgetown's covering of the IHS (Gr. 'Jesus')for I Won's speech, here is an exclusive by CMR on the finishing touches at Notre Dame for I Won’s presence on campus.

PRAY AND SING THE WORDS of St. Francis and St. Clare

Passing this on from a friend.

Dear Friends,

Over the past two years, we have worked with a team of Franciscans from across the world [see below] to produce what we call Franciscan Mantras drawn from the writings of St. Francis and St. Clare in a double CD and Songbook for singers and one for musicians.

The CDs are being distributed by Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs and proceeds for FPP will go to support our scholarship program for Franciscans from developing countries to be able to participate in our Assisi Pilgrimages. The Songbooks are being distributed by Tau Publishing from Arizona. The two attachments pretty much give a better synopsis of the works and how to obtain them, and you can visit our website Assisi Journey to hear some of the songs themselves.

We hope these works adds a new dimension to the prayer, worship and life of our Franciscan Family.

If you are able to forward this email to people on your address list, it would help immensely!

Wishing you peace and every good!

André Cirino OFM
Josef Raischl, SFO

Twenty-six mantras taken directly from the writings of Saints Francis and Clare on two CDs, background information on Francis and Clare and a 16 page booklet explaining each chant.
Link HERE for more info on the disks and how to order.

Franciscans Celebrate 800 Years of Their Founding

Some time in the year 1209, Francis of Assisi and his eleven companions walked into the august Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome for an audience with Pope Innocent III. A papal residence since 324, the basilica gave up this claim when 16th century popes began living in what is today known as Vatican City. In 1209, however, St. John Lateran was the earthly center of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis along with his 11 companions traveled the 186 kilometers from Assisi to Rome along ancient roads to ask Innocent for oral approval of their Franciscan way of life. Innocent - having dreamt of Francis holding up a disintegrating Basilica of St. John Lateran - heartily granted the approval, thus helping to solidify the Franciscan Order.

Read more about the celebration in Assisi and also read about the effect Francis had on G. K. Chesterton HERE.

And Friar Jack has some words on this event as well HERE.

And HERE is a link of related articles:
In 2009, the Franciscan family celebrates the 800th anniversary of its origins, when St. Francis and his companions received from Pope Innocent III in 1209 formal approval of a new brotherhood. The central event of the Eighth Centenary year for the Franciscans of the First Order and the Third Order of St. Francis is to be held April 15-18, 2009 in Assisi and Rome.

Click HERE for Friar Pat's blog commemorating the 800th anniversary of the formal founding of the Franciscan order.

Rosary Stars: Praying the Gospel Trailer

What is it going to take to get you to start praying the Rosary? Check out this.


And on Facebook

Happy Birthday

The Mass'keteers add our Feliz cumpliaños to that of Father Z, and all wishing Pope Benedict a merry, blessed, and peaceful Happy 82nd Birthday.

Okay, I'll Bite

Compare this to this.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

O @ Georgetown - IHS Nowhere Seen

Does it have the same feeling tone - the efforts to co-op the Catholic Church by the Last Self-Help Administration - and the Chinese government's efforts with the Church (not to mention Buddhist leadership succession)?

Dawn Eden reports on the President's visit to Georgetown University and G'town removes the Holy Name to accommodate The One.

It is coming down who believes who has the power to define the terms of discourse: Obama and his ilk think they do.

UPDATE: has more. [ht: Spirit Daily]

Monday, April 13, 2009

'This is what is new'

Amy Welborn posts the Holy Father's Easter homily. Once I heard a crusty, old Southern Baptist preacher say, "If it doesn't preach in the cancer ward, it ain't the Gospel."

Go read Urbi et Orbi: "Mors et vita, duello conflixere mirando: dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus - Death and life have come face to face in a tremendous duel: the Lord of life was dead, but now he lives triumphant."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bloch - Emmaus

Supper at Emmaus - Carl Heinrich Bloch

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Girard - Christianity does not promise peace but promises truth Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World he (Girard) claims he is not ashamed of Old Testament texts that mystify violence and analyzes many of the more important books of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is very important for his theory. One should also add that Girard does not disregard the non-violent aspects of non-Christian religions. His defence of Christianity has nothing to do with the fashionable idea of "non-violence". Girard stresses that Christianity does not promise peace but promises truth. According to Girard, it de-mystifies the "peace of the world". All religions, he says, even the most violent ones, are aimed toward peace. Archaïc societies ritually repeat the scapegoat-solution to make peace.

tip René Girard: Information and Much More from

Harrowing of Hell

Harrowing of Hell or Christ in Limbo (1510) - Albrecht Dürer

Imagine yourself in the dark. The gloom impenetrable, the helplessness complete, the despair infinite. If you chance upon others, you avoid eye contact, the fear and (self) loathing such that none wants to reach out, because all know that each is an aching sack of vulnerability, a wail waiting to happen (again and again and again).

How did this happen? you ask yourself. But you know the answer: a pleroma of decisions born of ignorance, pride, reluctance, meanness, cruelty, hard-heartedness, fear, want, and entitlement; every one of them justifiable; every one of them without justification – you just did each one for the hell of it.

A crack appears, a light so bright it hurts – a good hurt, like a foot asleep waking up or an abscess being lanced – and a cracking so loud it startles everyone and everything within earshot. It is like boulders being smote and splintered; like planets being knocked together like billiard balls; galaxies sent spinning and sailing as lightly as Frisbees on a sunny day in the park.

And another sound reaches your ear: singing. Singing as you haven’t heard in … O God! centuries? Suddenly, all those who like yourself would not, could not, lift their heads and shoulders due to the castdown-downness and cast-out-outness are joining as one, in all parts, all gladness and thanksgiving.

To greet the one and only One Who might enter this … this place … with the strong, well-rounded shoulder muscles and bright face and brighter eyes – striding, splintering all bonds, breaking loose all fears, all the menial and petty, all the huge and ugly sin that brought you and everybody else here in the first place.

You join your voice with theirs’! Can Heaven boast such a sound? Can the ninety nine sing like the one found and brought Home on the strong shoulders of the Good Shepherd? Is there anything so bright, so shining, as the one coin found by the woman who swept and searched? Is there anyone so dear as the son who once was dead, but now is alive?

All of you who look upon this Lord now lift your heads, hearts, shoulders, with straight backs. And you look fully at one another with eyes bright with tears, sorry, so sorry, yet so happy and full of love - now - for one another. What fools! O God! Thank God! O God! O Lord!

Our God is a sucker for redemption. If there is a way (there is a Way), He will make it possible for us to climb up and out and into His illimitable, irrepressible, indomitable loving Arms to safety and sunshine and Joy in the morning.

Through the Cross of Calvary he came all the way down ... here – for This. For us. For ... me. For all of us.

Obama & Mob Rule - What is the only way to break free? Imitatio Christi

Article link HERE by By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown

Obama’s team sees America as a nation where might makes right; the will of the people as expressed through our visionary leader Obama is all that matters. An America without the restraint of power is dangerous. His arrogance towards the Constitution and our founders is astounding. But, it doesn’t matter to him because he received more votes.

Obama is using the mob-incitement tactics of his mentor, Chicago organizer Saul Alinsky. The flash point he used has justified citizen outrage over AIG bonuses. Now he has claimed for himself the right to fire people in private businesses. Using his new-media outreach program and his e-mail database of 13 million people, Obama is further attempting to influence policy changes through protests outside AIG offices. He has even organized targeted doorbelling activities in support of his plans.

Obama’s expansion of presidential powers should be very troubling to all Americans. Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”

Legalized plunder is gaining popularity. In the words of Patrick Henry, “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” If freedom-loving Americans don’t take a stand, our precious liberties may be lost forever.
The last sentence really shows our weakness at critically understanding what is going on in the world today. The Brown's are likely more enlightened than our average political observers however most all of them are running without life support, such as what is revealed by the Judeo-Christian scriptures (and the help of a provocative French man-see link immediately below). In Brown's article they sense the mob being manipulated by Obama and yet their hope is in the mob turning on its leader in some secular "freedom-loving" concept. We have come a long way in observing the working of the mob but until we delve deeper into our mimetic propensity we just turn the mob in one way or the other. Below is another artilce - one of many on The Four Massketeer's side panel that highlight the work of René Girard.

René Girard: Stanford's provocative immortel is a one-man institution

On a societal level, such conflict seeks a release, and the outlet is a scapegoat. A third party—often an outsider, a foreigner, a woman, someone who is disabled, the king or president—is blamed and demonized for having caused the conflict. Scapegoats are not seen as innocent victims; they are seen as the guilty cause of the disorder. The calls mount for the sacrificial victim, and the mob itself creates a sense of harmony.

"Joining the mob is the thing that people don't realize. They feel the unity but don't interpret it as joining the mob," Girard said.

The mob prevails. The victim is killed, exiled, pilloried or otherwise dispensed with. Rivals reconcile, and peace and unity are restored to the community.

"If you scapegoat someone, it's a third party that will be aware of it," he said. "It won't be you. Because you will believe you are doing the right thing. You will be either punishing someone who is guilty or fighting someone who is trying to kill you, but you are never the one who is scapegoating."
If we are to break from the mob it will be through the imitatio Christi. In Chapter 7 of Evolution and Conversion: Dialogues on the Origins of Culture Girard says that
"we are free because we can truly convert ourselves at any time. In other words, we can refuse to join the mimetic unanimity. ...[C]onversion means to become aware that we are persecutors. It means choosing Christ or a Christlike individual as a model for our desires."

Do'ya think this is what O meant?

Do you suppose this is what 'I Wun' envisions as he proclaimed in Turkey that "We Do Not Consider Ourselves A Christian Nation"?

Holy Day

Good Friday and the Adoration of the Cross.

BXVI -Observe the Triduum

Cantalamessa - Good Friday

Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household, gave this Good Friday homily at the Vatican in the presence of Benedict XVI and the Curia. It "has it all," in my book, and should be read in depth today, Holy Saturday. Here are portions:
Christ has given a radically new meaning to the idea of sacrifice. In it, "it is no longer man who exercises influence on God in order to placate him. Rather it is God who works to make man stop hating him and his neighbor. Salvation does not start with man asking for reconciliation; rather it begins with God's request: "Let yourselves be reconciled with God" (1 Corinthians 2:6).[3]

The fact is that Paul takes sin seriously, does not make light of it. Sin is, for him, the principal cause of man's unhappiness, the refusal of God, not God himself! This encloses the human creature within "lies" and "injustice" (Romans 1:18; 3:23), condemns the very cosmic material to "vanity" and "corruption" (Romans 8:19), and it is the final cause also of the social evils that afflict humanity.

Unending analysis is conducted of the economic crisis under way in today's world and of its causes, but who dares put the ax to the roots and speak about sin? The Apostle defines insatiable avarice as "idolatry" (Colossians 3:5), and he points to "root of all evil" in the unbridled desire for money (1 Timothy 6:10). Can we say he is wrong? Why are there so many families out on the streets, throngs of workers who have lost their job, if not because of some people's insatiable thirst for profit? The elite members of the financial and economic world turned into a runaway train that steamed ahead without brakes, without stopping to think about the rest of the train that had come to a standstill on the tracks. We were headed in the completely wrong direction ...
Read it all …

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

The Crucifixion (14571-59) - Andrea Mantegna

1. What wondrous love is this,
O my soul! O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse,
For my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse, for my soul.

2. When I was sinking down,
Sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down;
When I was sinking down,
Beneath God's righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown,
For my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown, for my soul.

3. Ye winged seraphs, fly!
Bear the news! bear the news!
Ye winged seraphs fly! bear the news!
Ye winged seraphs fly! bear the news,
Like comets through the sky,
Fill vast eternity
With the news, with the news,
Fill vast eternity with the news!

4. To God, and to the Lamb,
I will sing, I will sing,
To God, and to the Lamb, I will sing;
To God, and to the Lamb,
Unto the great I AM,
While millions join the theme,
I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

5. Come, friends of Zion's King,
Join the praise, join the praise,
Come, friends of Zion's King, join the praise!
Come, friends of Zion's King,
With hearts and voices sing,
And strike each tuneful string,
In his praise, in his praise,
And strike each tuneful string in his praise.

6. And when from death we're free,
We'll sing on, we'll sing on,
And when from death we're free, we'll sing on;
And when from death we're free,
We'll sing, and joyful be,
And through eternity
We'll sing on, we'll sing on,
And through eternity we'll sing on.

7. Yes, when to that bright world
We arise, we arise,
Yes, when to that bright world we arise—
When to that world we go,
Free from all pain and wo,
We'll join the happy throng,
And sing on, and sing on,
We'll join the happy throng, and sing on.

- from The Hesperian Harp, 1848

Away from prevailing opinions

tip Chronicles of Atlantis

The Holy Father at the Chrism Mass said the following:

The word of God is, so to speak, the bath which purifies them, the creative power which transforms them into God’s own being. So then, how do things stand in our own lives? Are we truly pervaded by the word of God? Is that word truly the nourishment we live by, even more than bread and the things of this world? Do we really know that word? Do we love it? Are we deeply engaged with this word to the point that it really leaves a mark on our lives and shapes our thinking? Or is it rather the case that our thinking is constantly being shaped by all the things that others say and do? Aren’t prevailing opinions the criterion by which we all too often measure ourselves? Do we not perhaps remain, when all is said and done, mired in the superficiality in which people today are generally caught up? Do we allow ourselves truly to be deeply purified by the word of God? Friedrich Nietzsche scoffed at humility and obedience as the virtues of slaves, a source of repression. He replaced them with pride and man’s absolute freedom. Of course there exist caricatures of a misguided humility and a mistaken submissiveness, which we do not want to imitate. But there also exists a destructive pride and a presumption which tear every community apart and result in violence. Can we learn from Christ the correct humility which corresponds to the truth of our being, and the obedience which submits to truth, to the will of God? "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth": this word of inclusion in the priesthood lights up our lives and calls us to become ever anew disciples of that truth which is revealed in the word of God...
Read all HERE

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cowper - PRB

Saint Francis and the Heavenly Melody (1904) - Frank Cowper

For Brother Aramis and Lady Aramis - A blessed Triduum

NINTH STATION - Jesus falls for the third time


From the Book of Lamentations. 3:27-32

It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when he has laid it on him; let him put his mouth in the dust - there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.


What can the third fall of Jesus under the Cross say to us? We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison ­ Lord, save us (cf. Mt 8: 25).


Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all.

tip to Amy Welborn

Tolkien's Dark Lord at the UN (and do we say US?)

But the armies of darkness were strong and seemed invincible. China, Great Britain, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Spain and Germany could be expected to
promote this language. The United States, under its new administration bound to the culture of death, would use all of its might to advance the reign of Planned Parenthood. All seemed lost.

Then help came from an unexpected quarter. Iran took the floor and protested that the "right to sexual and reproductive health" could not be substituted with "sexual and reproductive health and rights."

We can only thank that one nation with the moral fortitude to refuse to be hoodwinked allowed a crack to open into the darkness. Obviously that one nation is NOT the US because we are not a Christian nation for our values are not shaped by a faith - we kinda like to pick and choose whatever or wherever the wind blows. Thankfully in this issue of pushing the abortion platform globally Iran stands firm. Interesting where the alliances form, isn't it?

Holy Thursday

The Eucharist (1647) - Nicolas Poussin

Gathering Shadows - Light of Christ

The present-day enemies of the Catholic Church - that is, the ones attempting a degradation of the Catholic Church, are doing so through legislative and judicial means. They are also utilizing strategies of swaying public opinion via political capital, riding the coat-tails of the popularity of B. O. While there is an offensive odor to this, it might be seen to have a high degree of probability of success, regardless of the fact that the Catholic Church has faced many enemies for its two thousand year existence.

Why might its enemies have such success? because militant and technologically-enhanced "progressive" agendas are, as never before, able to coerce and sway masses of people. Therefore, the Catholic Church may be in a corner it has never been forced to occupy - globally - in a relatively short amount of time.

Except ... except it's foes are forgetting something vital: the Catholic Church stands on the ontologically superior Being of Jesus Christ. This and this alone gives the Catholic Church the clear advantage in this struggle against the princes and rulers of this age. The people who make up the Catholic Church are fallen, feeble, mortal. His power is unquenchable, irrepressible, unshakeable. All - all - coherence comes solely from Him.

And woe to those who arrogate to themselves the task of thwarting that which He wants active and working in the world. One might say they have the same kind of reality check ahead as did Saul of Tarsus ... if Our Lord chooses to grant them such a shot at repentance ...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Stuck in a Walker Percy Novel

Piggy-backing on Aramis' excellent post (below), let me say the following. I feel these days as though I am a Walker Percy novel protagonist: I sense strange goings-on, a stranger in a strange land, and I'm not feeling too good myself. Everything and everyone is in a peck of trouble somehow, and there is a megalomaniac at the switch who is making Bill Clinton look like a raving right winger.

Furthermore, the Catholic Church is being tarred from disparate, yet discernibly connected, points - a former British Prime Minister "convert" who paints himself as a harbinger of enlightened Christianity; a Texas TV evangelist who sees the megalomaniac as one who "loves the Lord" (preach it, brother); a series of appointments who are junkyard dogs against the Catholic Church; a continuing battery of smears and sneers toward the pope.

It begins to look more and more as though the "progressive" forces see the Catholic Church to be the last and major rock in the road standing in the way of the Enlightenment Project, so-called. They, too, appear to be more and more intent on carrying out the ramifications of the "Reformation" - that is, the schmoozing out of the positivity of Catholicism to a gradual humanist wet dream of religion as a harmless garland-throwing love fest ("LET the love shine, let the love shine in, the LOVE shine in..."), regardless of what we have come too far to ignore about human nature and the sacred, Gnostic romanticism to the contrary notwithstanding.

It may very well come to the kind of law-enforced harassing and martyrdom that the Church faced in the Mexican Cristero Wars, and the Spanish Civil War.

It is not a time for despair. But we are sure to see many, many more Catholics get snookered by the con job that the megalomaniac and his cronies are throwing so smoothly at unsuspecting - or, sadder still, hypocritically ignorant - American Catholics.

Marian chivalry is what is called for. Make these holy days of Holy Week count.

Is it real? Or is it ... a Hoax? Or Memorex? Or Photoshop? Or Myth?

The video in my previous post I think is too important not to comment on it further. Below I have included the link to Father Barron's sermon that the video was drafted from.

Father Barron's sermon regarding the difference between myth and Gospel or as he titles it, The Resurrection of Jesus is Not a Myth

Please give it a listen and understand I fully support his argument, however I believe that sermons like this no longer open the hearts of many people today, just look at this, another intuitive observation from Father Barron.

I want to take off on the last sentence in his last article: "The great good news is that this choice of his cannot be undone by any choice of ours." I BELIEVE THIS, but I seriously do not believe that most, whether non-practicing Christians to even many who will be sitting in pews this coming Sunday, believe it! At least at the level of conventional culture and its education over the last 50 to 60 years. People of the 'West' have been influenced and have bought into such drivel and myth that we have closed ourselves up and are no longer able to hear what Father Barron is alluding to. It may still be scandalous to some but it is time to bring faith and reason together and get to a serious level of talk about violence or what Girard/Bailie talk about when they refer to the mimetic interplay.

There no longer is any excuse not to connect-the-dots between violence, religion and truth!
Let me refer a little to Violence Unveiled by Gil Bailie:

Participants in Western culture have lived for so long under the influence of the biblical ethos that it is difficult for us to fully appreciate its uniqueness. So pervasive is the concern for victims it arouses that there is a tendency for us to think of it as either a natural, universal emotion or a personal moral achievement for which the individual can take credit. Were either of those assumptions the case, Nietzsche would have been simply wrong about Christianity. He wasn’t simply wrong. He was mad. He was totally wrong, but he wasn’t simply wrong. The Christian gospels have done what Nietzsche accused Christianity of doing, though not for the reasons he alleged.
Whatever “natural” empathy for one another we may have under any given set of circumstances, an empathy specifically for victims as victims is a cultural and not a natural phenomenon. Not only is it not a natural emotion; in many cases it is not even a welcomed one. Those in whom this empathy awakens often try to suppress it in favor of more practical and conventional loyalties. Nietzsche was able to see that in those cultures influenced by the biblical tradition this empathy for the victim had gradually become a major historical force, one that was throwing conventional culture into disarray.
Bailie goes on:

We have been unable to recognize the clumsy attempts to revive the sacrificial ethos of pagan antiquity in our world because we haven’t fully understood the anthropological patterns to which these attempts conform. When we catch glimpses of these anthropological patterns, we blink in incredulity or we think them the product of the rich imagination of archaic peoples.
The fact is:

The generic term for the systematic misrecognitions that have veiled the victim’s face and silenced the victim’s voice is myth. If we live at a moment in human history when “history” is no longer able to screen us from the apocalypse, no longer able to explain away the violence it documents, it is because in our day “history” is exhausting the last vestige of its mythological power. In the foreseeable future, neither religious mystification nor the solemn and quasi-religious causes of “history” will sufficiently veil our violence from our own eyes, nor keep us from seeing the faces of our victims.
Fundamentally, human history is a struggle between myth and Gospel. Literature, as it has developed in Western culture, is neither myth (muthos) nor truth (aletheia), it is the textual arena in which the two struggle for the upper hand. What myth conceals, what literature alternately conceals and reveals, and what the Gospel decisively reveals are the social dynamics that produce what Girard calls “the essential complicity between violence and human culture.”
All this means is that myth is still operating at the foundation of our institutions influencing us (as in this post) and is at the heart of what Jesus is saying here:
John 8, 43-47: “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. “Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
I want to close with a couple quotes from another Girardian, Raymund Schwager and his book, Banished from Eden - Original Sin and Evolutionary Theory in the Drama of Salvation:
"... in the history of humanity, and above all in the history of the Christian message, there appears a dramatic struggle between contending powers, a struggle which in modern times has not abated but has even increased in somewhat more subtle forms. In view of this dramatic struggle we need, on the one hand, a cool clear-sightedness, which does not close its eyes before whatever is hostile and try to argue it away; on the other hand, faith in a real redemption is necessary, so that in the long run negative mechanisms will not be taken for natural occurrences which would be totally unchangeable."
(Read this post)

"In light of the world-spanning media and economic forces, counter-institutions are necessary that are likewise world spanning and are based neither on money nor the fashions of the media world. The Church as such a counter-institution is of course often helpless and powerless; yet it keeps fundamental alternatives open and so, in spite of problems in its own ranks, resists the tendency to gradually substitute marketing strategies for democracy, which in subtle ways revert completely to the friend-enemy distinction. The doctrine of original sin does not create our political problems, but it certainly circumscribes the greatness of the task. It enables us to judge which proposed solutions are realistic, and thus guards us against counterproductive and better consequences of utopian experiments while making clear that only a faith that can move mountains will be able to bring about genuine improvements in history."
(Review here)

Fr Barron on Zeitgeist the Movie - If only he were to add Girard to his explanation

Father Barron does a respectable job differentiating myth and Gospel, however his argument would have carried much more weight if he would have included René Girard (who he has commented on in prior talks and video).

Are the Gospels Mythical? by Rene Girard Copyright (c) 1996 First Things (April 1996).
The evangelists see something very simple and fundamental that we ourselves should see. As soon as we become reconciled to the similarities between violence in the Bible and myths, we can understand how the Bible is not mythical—how the reaction to violence recorded in the Bible radically differs from the reaction recorded in myth.

Beginning with the story of Cain and Abel, the Bible proclaims the innocence of mythical victims and the guilt of their victimizers. Living after the widespread promulgation of the gospel, we find this natural and never pause to think that in classical myths the opposite is true: the persecutors always seem to have a valid cause to persecute their victims.

In most biblical texts, the dissenting minority remains invisible, but in the Gospels it coincides with the group of the first Christians. The Gospels dramatize the human impossibility by insisting on the disciples’ inability to resist the crowd during the Passion (especially Peter, who denies Jesus three times in the High Priest’s courtyard). And yet, after the Crucifixion—which should have made matters worse than ever—this pathetic handful of weaklings suddenly succeeds in doing what they had been unable to do when Jesus was still there to help them: boldly proclaim the innocence of the victim in open defiance of the victimizers, become the fearless apostles and missionaries of the early Church.

The true Resurrection is based not on the mythical lie of the guilty victim who deserves to die, but on the rectification of that lie, which comes from the true God and which reopens channels of communication mankind itself had closed through self-imprisonment in its own violent cultures. Divine grace alone can explain why, after the Resurrection, the disciples could become a dissenting minority in an ocean of victimization—could understand then what they had misunderstood earlier: the innocence not of Jesus alone but of all victims of all Passion-like murders since the foundation of the world.

Read all HERE

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Mark Shea gets it exactly right

Because Obama really is an enemy of the Church and has no compunction about surrounding himself with people who are quite nakedly contemptuous of Her. What is required is a cool-headed response to a very cool cucumber who is coolly implacable in his will to defeat the Church's teaching on a number of crucial points (albeit not all).
Read all of Why It's Important to Silence the Nutjobs.

It is de rigueur to keep smiling while in the spotlight of fame and prestige; it throws off suspicion of the masses ("If s/he's smiling, s/he can't feel guilty and/or have evil intent."). Secondly, one never dirties one's own hands in an executive position; let the henchmen do it for you. And thirdly, follow a plan of patient deconstruction of what you want eventually to destroy. It may take decades, but we can and will bring the Catholic Church to an ignominy it so richly deserves. And keep smiling. Waving. Smiling. Waving.

Time to batten down the hatches, Christians. The storm of human pride is upon us.

I have always loved a big helping of potato salad

Solid Potato Salad - The Ross Sisters (1944)

We don't have great entertainment like this anymore.

Major Earthquake Devastates Central Italy

L'AQUILA, Italy -- A powerful earthquake shook this medieval town in central Italy early Monday morning, killing more than 150 people, leaving tens of thousands without a home and damaging many of the centuries-old monuments that make up the city's rich cultural heritage.

Many of the buildings in L'Aquila that collapsed or were damaged were centuries-old monuments. The back of the 13th-century Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio, founded by the future Pope Celestino V, collapsed, leaving the church "open on the back," said Giuseppe Proietti, secretary-general of Italy's Culture Ministry. The dome of the Church of Blessed Souls also caved in, he said.

Lord, by your Cross

The Scimitar lacks something, according to Girard: the Cross. The Christian faith offers a bright, shining Alternative to the same old, same old of the primitive Sacred's imperative of revenge, retaliatory violence, and the scapegoating mechanism. What? The message of Good Friday is one of a forlorn hope of short circuiting the "eternal return" of Nietzsche. The message of Easter is one of vindication: God is not the bloodthirsty, vengeful deity we claimed he was by offering so, so many victims to him to justify ourselves. As the prophet Jeremiah said for God, "It never crossed my mind!"

Ponder these ancient truths this week as we draw near to the great Mysteries of the Faith. Ask: where and when do I (still) seek revenge? cause offense? hold grudges? demand retribution because it is my "sacred duty?"

Monday, April 06, 2009

Playing for Change

Inklings of Heaven


Is almost as beautiful as this:

Oakes - Epistemic Pathologies

Father Edward T. Oakes, S. J., ponders the way the human mind can become such a lint trap for drivel:

Consider the following statements:

  1. Neil Armstrong never landed on the moon but was bouncing around in a TV studio on July 20, 1969, with Walter Cronkite in a nearby booth to report on the alleged event.
  2. The baby baptized as William Shakespeare on April 26, 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon grew up illiterate and thus never wrote any of the works attributed to him.
  3. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were brought down on September 11, 2001, not because two planes, gorged with jet fuel, flew into them but because the federal government had planted explosives in them at strategic locations.
  4. Jesus Christ never existed.
  5. The Holocaust never happened.

Strange to relate, each of these sentences has found advocates somewhere in contemporary society. Now of course there are varying degrees of moral turpitude involved in subscribing, however sincerely or disingenuously, to these sentences. Despite that moral variety, however, they all have at least this in common, besides their flagrant falsity: it is impossible to convince those who propound these statements of their falsity, partly (but only partly) because the events being denied lack analogies to the everyday world of predictable events.

These denials, in other words, are not solely due to malevolence, although in many cases ill will must be present in the person who voices such views. My concern here is more with the epistemology (loosely defined) that lurks behind the inability to refute such statements. In other words, I want to ask: Why, besides obvious mendacity, does contrary evidence never count with people who claim they sincerely believe these assertions?

The reason I wish to describe these five sentences (needless to say, I could generate a larger list) as “epistemic pathologies” can best be seen from an incident in the life of Albert Einstein. After the Nazi takeover of the German government in 1933, over two hundred German scientists signed a public letter condemning relativity as “Jewish physics,” which for that reason had no place in the science curriculum of the Third Reich. To which Einstein dryly retorted: If these advocates of “German physics” were right, one signature would have sufficed...

Read all …

Evil effects still rampant from teaching that no evil exists

tip to Tim at Old World Swine.

Growing up non-religious, and most certainly not Catholic, I eventually invested my time in the link between education and violence. Along with running my family business I gained an understanding of structural violence within our institutions. Next I found myself gravitating toward local, regional and national leadership programs which helped me appreciate the victim from new perspectives. And finally tying all these loose-ends up I reached a melting point in my personal study of violence and I was brought home to the Church (certainly a-round-about way to get home I am sure) for there we touch the truth with Christ on the Cross about human violence.

Sadly a lot of what I gleaned, a lot of which was spewed out by liberal Catholic religious who were sold a bill of goods by practitioners of humanistic mumbo-jumbo, feel-good therapists of the '60s and early '70s, still holds authority in the line of thought for most educators (both secular and religious), spiritual direction (as many SDs are religious who trained in post-Vatican II era) and intellectuals today. Though there are little signs of hope as Athos posted I am afraid that any true resurgence of "teaching" with an authority to Truth will come, as Belloc predicted, in Africans or Asiatics or in some civilisation yet unborn.

Dr. William Coulson writes how many religious orders, and many within the Church and including generations within society continue to be ravaged by the destructive effects of humanistic psychotherapy, the kind that had virtually taken over the Church in America, and dominates so many forms of aberrant education like sex education, and drug education, which holds that the most important source of authority is within you, that you must listen to yourself - and most importantly for you to accomplish this you must expelled all influences from any authority outside of yourself. As a Girardian I see this nonsense as it is today but not until I experienced the horrors of broken relationships, one after another, from trying to live free from any external authority.

This article is from 1994 but just pick up any self-help book or spiritual direction manual and you will still feel the ever lingering echo of Rogers, On Becoming a Person or for those who worship Oprah, Eckhart Tollie's new-age rendition of 'being'. Or sit around a group of teachers, it doesn't matter whether they teach at a Catholic program or in our public institutions and you will catch yourself nodding to methods that rely on reaching this authority from within - avoiding at all cost those 3 nasty words, thou shalt not... and never, never alluding to any sort of evil that may be within.

Coulson brings up how easy it was to infect this gnostic virus into the diet of American life and particularly the Catholic religious as they were caught up in the excitement coming from interpretations of Vatican II that seemed to give permission to explore whatever means to "open the windows and let in the fresh air."

Yes I acknowledge that many parishes, hopefully including the parish I belong to, are turning to the Church and proper authority to instruct our youth today, however with all the influences of higher education, media, entertainment, sports, business and politics that shower them with anti-religious, new-age, you-can-have-it-now messages it will be difficult to reverse the evil effects that ran rampant in my generation and after.


"Love", Benedict XVI explained, "means the abandoning of self, the giving of self, not wishing to possess oneself but becoming free of self; not closing in on oneself (what will become of me?) but looking ahead towards others: towards God and towards the people He sends me".

"In reality, however, it is not a question of simply recognising a principle but of living its truth, the truth of the cross and the resurrection. Hence, it is not enough to make one single great decision. It is certainly important to dare to make the great fundamental decision, to dare to say the great 'yes' which the Lord asks of us at a certain moment in our lives", yet this must then be "constantly renewed in our everyday lives in which, ever and anew, we must abandon our own self and place ourselves at the disposal of others".

Read more here

Looking for real meaning? There is only one place to look:
"The apocalypse," writes René Girard, "does not announce the end of the world, it creates hope. We suddenly see reality and rediscover a world where things have meaning."

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Text in Travail - Chapter 7 in Violence Unveiled by Gil Bailie (post 2)

In the end, the Cain and Abel story provides a parable of the sacrificial dilemma with which the Israelites would wrestle for centuries, and with which we are still confronted. Under the cumulative pressure of the biblical revelation, the sacrificial system fails, beginning with its most abominable form, human sacrifice. But attempts to abandon the sacrificial system too abruptly deprive the society in question of its only effective ritual for curing itself of the tensions to which mimetic desire inevitably lead. When the Bible says that Abel’s blood sacrifice was pleasing to God, it means that it was religiously and socially effective.

There is, I feel, a tragic aspect to the story of Cain, similar in many ways to the tragedy which surrounded the life of the biblical Moses. Cain renounced the sacrificial underpinnings of religious and cultural life too casually. His ritual innovation was driven by no discernible moral or religious scruple. Lacking that motivation, his renunciation of sacrifice was accompanied by no heightened sense of moral and religious responsibility. To dispense with sacrificial systems without accepting greater moral and religious responsibility is to follow Cain down a dark road that, in the Bible, led in five generations to Lamech, who declares:

I killed a man for wounding me,
a boy for striking me.
Sevenfold vengeance for Cain,
but seventy-sevenfold for Lamech. [Genesis 4:23-24]

The story of Cain shows what the history of the twentieth century shows, namely, that if we dispense with the sacrificial structures upon which religion and culture have for so long depended without at the same time renouncing the mimetic passions that made these structures necessary in the first place, then sooner or later we will become murderers.

Violence Unveiled

A Text in Travail - Chapter 7 in Violence Unveiled by Gil Bailie

The Bible has given us the privileged tool of demystification, but we either do not know how to use it, or do not want to use it. Perhaps we are secretly afraid it will wreak too much havoc. - René Girard
The man of today . . . must read the Scriptures as though they were something entirely unfamiliar, as though they had not been set before him ready-made . . . as though he has not been confronted all his life with sham concepts and sham statements which cited the Bible as their authority. - Martin Buber

According to the biblical tradition, the essential thing about the human race is that it has fallen. It lives cursed by its own waywardness, insolence, pride, and absurdity. This idea of a fallen humanity has not been a popular one in the modern world, but that is not because the evidence for it has become any less compelling. What we must realize is that the biblical idea of a fall is inextricably linked with the biblical idea of the goodness of creation and the goodness of God. When the Bible says we are fallen creatures, it is saying that the question of what’s wrong with the world is really the question about what’s wrong with us.

Violence Unveiled